Review: Brooke McAlary – SLOW

Brooke McAlary

When Brooke realised there wasn’t enough time in the day she didn’t start staying up later! Instead she chose to cut down on the number of things she did in her life. That start with saying ‘no’ and progressed to having the time to appreciate the important things in her life.

I’ve spent the last 4.5 years (let’s be honest, probably my whole life) being completely stressed out by completing my PhD (you may now call me Dr. Rose). Now I have a summer ahead of me that seems pretty empty at this point. I think I’ll be practicing Slow living without trying. It’s sort of regressing to an old style of living, which I have always supported. If you enjoy making your own bread, take the moment to do so, and enjoy the process. Be mindful the whole time.

I’m a bit more of a minimalist and an environmentalist (Zero Waster) than your average person (also a FI:RE dabbler). That honestly means that I couldn’t finish reading this book. But! I have written down some major takeways from this. The one that resonated the most with me is knowing how to say ‘no’. I admit I’m not very good at it, because my high-school principal’s motto was ‘Make the most of your opportunities’, as so far that’s stood me in good stead. But it leads to my plate being overfull, and stressing myself out.

This book calls for introflection, but in a more palatable manner than How to be Bored and How to Think. It could be a suitable Christmas present unless a person has already expressed an interest in cutting down. You have to be ready for the book’s message, because it’s a little more hardcore, and yet easier to manage, than Mindfulness.

Allen & Unwin | 5th September 2017 | AU $32.99 | hardback

Review: How to Think & How to be Bored

How to books:Ā How to Think by Rick NorwoodĀ andĀ How to Be Bored by Eva Hoffman

How to Think

I started reading this book many times, but despite it being a tiny little volume I couldn’t get into it. I wanted to read it in little chunks to properly apply what the author had to offer, but I could never return to it.

Now that I am Bullet Journalling (or attempting to), perhaps I could use some of the exercises or write them down somewhere for future use. I actually have time to promote thinking now! And some down time for my brain to want to feel like thinking about things other than science.


How to be Bored

The author of The Secret has written this tiny little novel for ‘The School of Life’. I’m sorry, but thinking about The Secret made me not want to even approach this book. I’m all about positive thinking, but without making the appropriate concrete steps towards you goals, you can’t just expect them to fall in your lap. For example, if you envisage yourself getting a pay rise, but don’t actually ask for it at your annual review, it’s highly unlikely you are going to get one! Or hoping to win the lottery when you didn’t buy a ticket.


I think I also struggled with these books because I’d like to think that I can think and that I know how to be bored. I’d like to spend more time away from my phone and laptop, and I think that’s possible now that I don’t have to be writing all the time! After I finish catching up on the 13 or so reviews that need to be written, maybe I’ll be able to go back to guilt-free reading.

Maybe I will give these as Christmas presents this year and hope that someone else likes them! Or maybe they too will pass them on. These would make good Kris Kringle gifts, rather than the all too common candles/hand cream/useless gadget that are usually on offer. Non-fiction reading doesn’t force me to give stars to things, so I’m just not going to try.

Review: Scott Pape – the barefoot investor

the barefoot investor
Scott Pape

Scott Pape is a fiercely independant general financial advisor who is the reason that I tear apart my neighbour’s Sunday newspaper just to read Scott’s column. With the advent of it being online, I can just wait for the email to arrive instead.

This book is for people who know how to manage their money at a basic level and also those who don’t know how to manage at all. Scott takes people through money in 9 easy steps – with date nights and beers so that you and your partner are on the same page about your goals.

I regularly follow Scott’s column, and honestly this book didn’t offer much new for me. I had already implemented most of the strategies that he suggests – I’ve even started stepping into the scary world of shares! But for people who are in debt or don’t own their home, this novel is a match made in heaven! It has simple, actionable steps that anyone can carry out and should be on a list of books to buy young adults as they get their first credit card (and then chop it up on Scott’s orders) and move into independent living.

I pre-ordered this book before Christmas to take advantage of both a discount on the purchase price and an online webinar with Scott. The discount was nice, but the webinar was worthless. I’ve now purchased a membership in Scott’s online Barefoot Blueprint. I’d recommend this for people who are ready to move into their next stage of investing.

If you’re terrified of opening your mail, or just want to help out a person struggling with money in your life, this is the book for you.

Review: Suzanne Strisower – 111 “Tweetable” Inspirational Life Purpose Quotes

One Hundred and Eleven Tweetable Inspirational Life Purpose Quotes: A Book of Original Thoughts
Suzanne Strisower

What can I write about ‘A Book of Original Thoughts, Your Life Purpose is Just a Tweet Away’? Shouldn’t it be speaking for itself? Nevertheless, I was sent a copy for review a long time ago now, and I didn’t know what to do with it.

15890431Honestly, I think if I had paid for it, I would be asking for my money back. I’m not even certain it’s good enough to give as a present. There are heaps of little books like this that claim to change your life for you by just a little message here and there, and I’m not buying it.

I browsed through this in the hopes that something awesome would just out at me… But it didn’t.

Now, would it be irony that this book is a paperback, and it’s designed to be used as inspiration for Tweets, an entirely digital creation? You can source this information for yourself, and don’t let buying a book get in the way of actually doing something with your life.

As someone I read recently said, don’t let your life just get covered up with self-help books which can block the light just as well as depression if you don’t actually use them.

Review: Kate Swann and Kristina Mamrot – Do You Really Want to Lose Weight?

Do You Really Want to Lose Weight?
Kate Swann and Kristina Mamrot

This book is a new guide to losing weight – mainly without massive immediate diet changes and unrealistic goals. Instead, it looks at the psychological side of losing weight. I’d actually highly recommend it as a good book of its type, and in combination with another healthy eating guide, I think it could be a step in the right direction for people with weight-loss problems.

22696682You might be thinking to yourself ‘Why is Rose reviewing diet books?”. Well, I don’t need to lose weight. But I do enjoy the stories of other people being successful in their weight loss goals, and when I was approached to read this novel, it’s the only reason I agreed.

I really liked this book. It has some sound practical advice, and some powerful messages that readers may or may not be able to apply by themselves. There is certainly a link between psychology and weight gain/loss. Go out there, buy it, and share it with a friend. Take notes on the things that resonate with you, and pass on the ones that don’t.

This is a short review – mainly because I want you to go read it for yourself. It’s well written, I enjoyed the stories and I could tell that there were real people behind those anonymous fronts. What more can I say?

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Review: Michelle Baumgartner – Diet and Weight Loss Lies

Diet and Weight Loss Lies
Michelle Baumgartner
Michelle writes from her own perspective on exercise and anorexia, and finding your way out of the dieting hole. Backed up with science and a couple of relevant university Degrees, Michelle sets down planning for a new you in 8 weeks. Reminds me of the 12 week program touted by someone else…
Did I learn anything new from this? No, I didn’t really. I’ve read other books like this before, and find many of them the same. That being said, one of the diet books I read was completely a fad, and I couldn’t recommend it to anyone. See here for my rather ripping-apart review. This book is a reasonable source of information, and is certainly not a ‘fad diet’.
I loved the recipe section at the back. It’s a good formula for people who don’t feel comfortable working out what they should be eating from a random list of ‘allowed’ foods. There are some random lists in this book that you can skip over if so desired. I only wish that the menu plans had come with a total list of what you needed for the recipes.
Some fad diets come up with diets based on blood type, which is completely absurd. Instead, this guide uses your body shape. I think the overall view is good, but don’t shackle yourself into sticking to one body type meal. The main thing is being sensible about what you eat, and how much you eat!
I don’t agree with putting only a fist-full of food in your stomach at one time. For people working 9-5 hours, it’s simply not possible to fit in 5 meals. As it is, the earliest time we can have dinner is at 6pm. If you work from home like I do sometimes, I would strongly suggest packaging up your portions for the day, and eating them when you get hungry. If not, it is likely you will just snack from the fridge and not get far on anything.

A non-nonsense guide. I think I’d actually recommend this one. The only thing that let me down were the limited case studies – I always find that part the most fascinating.

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Review: Shauna Reid – The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl

The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl
Shauna Reid
Diet girl is too fat for the scales. No, really, so fat that even if she loses weight, she can’t see it on the bathroom scales at home. Instead she joins Weight Watchers, watches what she eats, begins to try exercise more, and get herself out into the wide world.
I read the blog on which this novel was based years ago, in 2012/13. I loved the blog, and I believe I may have reread it once or twice. When I saw that Shauna had a couple of copies to send away, that ignited my curiosity to read the actual novel. I found myself let-down by the novel. Yes, it was formatted more nicely, yes, it followed a neat, linear plot line, but no, it didn’t have the same immediacy and drive of the blog.
On to the story. Simply, this is a self-discovery novel about what you can gain from losing weight, but also understanding what triggers you have. For Shauna, it is depression that can derail her weightloss, and it’s not even her fault.
The funny anecdotes, such as those involving the Mothership and the early courting with Gareth, were the highlights as always. Everything I say is going to be comparing it to the blog, so there isn’t much I can actually say about this novel as a stand-alone.
Is this just another success story, which pretends to give sage advice about losing weight in a ploy to get you to buy it? No, it’s a true story that is inspiring all in its own way, while not actually dieting, only being more careful with your lifestyle.
If you love the allure of a paperback novel, and you don’t have the drive to read through the blogging archives, this would suit you to a T. If you don’t want the paperback copy though, I don’t think you need to buy a Kindle version – you might as well read the blog.

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Review: A.J. Rochester – Confessions of Reformed Dieter

Confessions of Reformed Dieter
A.J. Rochester
This is the weight-loss diary of A.J. Rochester, and is the first book beforeĀ Lazy Girl’s Guide to Losing Weight and Getting Fit which I previously reviewed. I didn’t realise that both of them were available as audiobooks, and so I listened to them out of sequence.
I’m sort of glad I did listen to them out of sequence. Not this this book was no good, but that I found the sense of humour in ‘Lazy Girl’ more to my liking. I’m just not that interested in the size of her arse!
There were a couple of bits that irked me, such as when she goes on about Pluto Pups (again?!?) and lists food items off. But I am excited for her as she goes through the plateaus and faces exercise challenges such as breaking her leg.
Rochester’s formidable personality shines through. I found it engaging to listen to, and was very sad when I got to the end. There were so many things left unanswered! I was frustrated that I didn’t know what happened to ‘the boy’, and I wanted her to find some sort of closure with Nutcase. I know it’s unrealistic to expect that in real life, but it should have avoided…
While then end of this novel is really very positive, when googling to check I spelt her name correctly, I found several less-than-flattering pictures of her more recently. She appears to have piled the weight back on, despite saying that she never would. Not very inspiring by someone who claims her new weightloss is for life!
When struggling with my own desire to thin down and get fit, inspiring books like these are just what I need. I don’t have 50 kg to lose, but knowing that someone else (on a personal level like what I felt with Rochester) has done it, and done it well is inspiring.

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Review: A.J. Rochester – The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Losing Weight and Getting Fit

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Losing Weight and Getting Fit
A.J. Rochester
A.J. has struggled with being big all her life and when she realises she is obese she decides to get professional help – Dr. Nutcase, Crusher and a nutritionist. This book chronicles how other people can follow her process and aim towards being thinner themselves.
As a talking book read by the author herself, the expression and nuances of language were amazing. It was engaging to listen to, and although I couldn’t say the topic matter was that interesting to me personally (knowing most of the things already), I was happy to listen to it on my walks to the bus.
Something that irked me were references to Pluto Pups. What is a Pluto Pup anyway? Additionally, the subscription to eating diet yoghurt. I’m of the belief that yoghurt’s fats are good for you, because that’s the way it’s made by cows. The amount of sugar added to those things to make them palatable is going to kill your diet anyway, and could have major effects on your metabolism. So my suggestion would be to eat pot-set yoghurt, because it naturally has lower sugar, and the fats are good for you.
Another thing that didn’t work in the talking book format were the lists of allowed food (too long, couldn’t remember most of them by the end) and the listed menus (boring to listen to). The passages about what to do about food in general, the psychology element and exercise were good though, and I didn’t get bored.
If you haven’t heard/read the first book (which I’m currently in the process of listening to), then the human element is slightly missing in this novel. However, A.J. does a good job of projecting her personality into it, and there’s a good chance you’ll be hooked anyway.
I think this book is a valuable addition to any ‘dieter’s’ bookshelf, provided you actually get into it. A.J. has some super valuable points that are useful. I disagree with fat being the only enemy (added sugar is also bad), but the underlying bones of the diet – eat less, move more – are solid.
I completely support A.J.’s suggestion that if you have abuse in your life, you need to get professional help before you can do anything about your weight. I often see smokers who should be thin because of the effect cigarettes have on the body that are fat. There has to be some underlying cause there, and getting psychiatric help is a great idea. If you can prove you have a problem, Australia has a ‘Mental Health Care Plan’ that means you will be able to see a psychologist cheaply. No excuses!

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Review: Gregory Kuhn – Why Quantum Physicists Don’t Get Fat

Why Quantum Physicists Don’t Get Fat
Gregory Kuhn
This ‘novel’ is a weightloss guideline book. To clarify, I don’t actually need to lose weight, nor have I been actively trying to lose weight (other than reducing portion sizes because I now have a desk job). I have been the size I am now for the last 5 or so years, maybe longer, and I have never been overweight. I’m always interested in various weight things though, as now that I’m in my 20sĀ I don’t want to findĀ overnight I have gained a bunch of weight.
15814165I liked the way the book used a couple of headlining scientist quotes for each chapter. However I got a bit annoyed with them as time went on as it felt like they interrupted the flow of the text, and as relevant as some of them were, other just felt like filler.
Kuhn really is quite sneaky in the way he positions the reader to take his opinion on and follow his weightloss strategies. You find yourself nodding along, and then bam! He hits you with something new.Ā I loved the analogy of the browser for weight loss strategies. Neat! It explained the idea of changing the way you think to lose weight, and changing the strategies you use to do it.
The language is simple to understand and easy to read, even the moreĀ theoreticalĀ parts. I found myself 20% of the way through the book (thanks Kindle Cloud for telling me where I was up to) and not knowing how I got that far into it! Things went downhill from there though.
Chapter 9 is where the author loses me. He suddenly begins suggesting that our expectation that our parents love us makes the universe make them send us material expressions of love. Now, I agree to some extent that expectations can drive what you have been given, but also that those expectations do not magically change the cosmos.Ā He then goes on to suggest that the real you is making the decisions, which seems a littleĀ counter-intuitiveĀ  if you imagine that if that was your parents, they can’t be really making the decision sanymore, because it is you who is suggesting to them that they should give you presents.
As a scientist, I can’t accept Chapter 10 either. Those neuropeptides that do signal, which are created when you have a thought, they don’t support the evidence he just presented. Perhaps I’m clinging to old science here (and I’m sure that is what he would suggest), but I have no reason to. The suggestion that my cells have been reprogrammed by years of thinking ‘I’m smart’ to expect to be anything other than being smart is ludicrous. It’s still possible to make stupid decisions, even if you are thinking (or perhaps because you are thinking) ‘I’m smart’. I particularly have a problem with this style of thinking, because it implies that people with mental illnesses have programmed themselves to expect to be sick. If cognitive behaviour therapy (which is aimed at changing the way you intitively think) worked the way this author is suggesting fat busting works, there wouldn’t be any more mental illness.
So you can probably tell that by this point in the book I was feeling pretty irritated at the author. I kept reading though in the hopes that the second half of the book would be better because it was time for part 2.
The conversational tone of this novel made me as the reader feel like it was me alone being talked to. I can imagine that this is something that some people would like, because it brings to mind a supportive figure who is going to help you through your weight-loss goals.
Chapter 12 and 13 make excellent points, and I can understand their relevance. Feelings are aĀ thermometerĀ for your state of being! I do agree that feelings play a powerful role, but not that you can overcome everything with them as the author is suggesting. The author then suggests that because I feel that some of the things he has said are ‘silly’, I either don’t have unwanted weight, or I’m not in enough pain over my weight to try something new.
You must honestly feel good about everything you eat. If you eat the cake, you must truely appreciate it. Don’t eat it, if it doesn’t make you feel good. What this book asks of you is a complete mindset chnge, that even with a manual like this one, is very hard to achieve on your own. It is easy to continue to eat the way you always have, but you now need to feel good about whatever it is you are doing to try lose weight.
I was looking for a real rational approach to losing weight, a handbook of approach, things that I could use to prevent gaining weight. I didn’t find it here, and I didn’t really find anything here particularly worthwhile. This book really seems like another fad ‘diet’ to me – change the way you think, and the weight will magically drop off. Don’t bother reading the whole thing – skip straight to chapter 15-17 with the eating, moving and 6 Ā major points, and you will probably have gotten the most out of this book with the least effort.
This is an ebook that IĀ receivedĀ after missing out on a hard copy through Goodreads First Reads program. This has not influenced my review in any way – my opinion is my own.

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